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Two different characters - is there an explanation? 
1st-Mar-2006 07:39 pm
There is one thing that keeps me wondering and wondering.

Why is it that some people are able to lead a very sinful life, doing bad things to others, lying, deceiving without any conscience, without ever feeling bad or guilty, always feeling righteous. They want to exert power. They don’t know the word “apologize” or “repent”. They don’t care what others think about them (they believe that it is better people speak badly about them than nobody speaks about them). They don’t mind if they hurt others or destroy their lives. (I'm not only talking about non-Christians here, but also people who are regarded or regard themselves as Christian leaders).

And on the other hand there are people who are so sensitive. If you say one bad word to them, they can be hurt for years. If you blame them, they can feel guilty though they did nothing wrong. They are constantly apologizing and repenting when it is not needed at all. Such people do not only. (Such people also exist among non-Christians.)

These extreme differences can be particularly seen between cult leaders and cult members, allowing for a perfect symbiosis.

My question is: Is there a psychological explanation for such differences between people? Is it the difference between people with delusions of grandeur and those with inferiority complexes? Are people born like that? Or do they develop these characters in extreme situations like cults? Or is it the other way around, does a cult develop because of these characters? Or is it a vitious circle where these characters create an environment that amplifies these characters?

Here is a passage from ”Dealing With Manipulative People” describing this phenomenon so well:

“Guilt-tripping – One thing that aggressive personalities know well is that other types of persons have very different consciences than they do. Manipulators are often skilled at using what they know to be the greater conscientiousness of their victims as a means of keeping them in a self-doubting, anxious, and submissive position. The more conscientious the potential victim, the more effective guilt is as a weapon. Aggressive personalities of all types use guilt-tripping so frequently and effectively as a manipulative tactic, that I believe it illustrates how fundamentally different in character they are compared to other (especially neurotic) personalities. All a manipulator has to do is suggest to the conscientious person that they don't care enough, are too selfish, etc., and that person immediately starts to feel bad. On the contrary, a conscientious person might try until they're blue in the face to get a manipulator (or any other aggressive personality) to feel badly about a hurtful behavior, acknowledge responsibility, or admit wrongdoing, to absolutely no avail.”

For instance, people like Mr. Samuel Lee could never be guilt tripped, simply because they never feel any guilt. For instance, when the Presbyterian Church told him that he did bad things, his reaction was to found his own church. When the people in his own church told him he did bad things, he called them “rebels” and so on.

However, the passage does not explain why people have these fundamentally different chararacters.

And, this phenomenon can be seen in even more extreme forms in the behavior of dictators. The more oppressive and evil the dictator, the more obedient, humble and loyal are the people.

Just take Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic as an example, two of the most evil men of the last century, how they behave in court. No shame, only brazen self-righteousness. How can people be like that? It’s really like where other people have a heart and a conscience, they have nothing.
4th-Mar-2006 05:53 am (UTC)
However, the passage does not explain why people have these fundamentally different chararacters.

The following books shows many different kings in the Israel history: Kings 1, Kings 2, Chronicles 1 and Chronicles 2. There were many different kinds of people who came to power. Most of them were ungodly and abusive. If one reads these books, he might get some insight into the question of what goes into the formation of personal character.

There were a few godly kings. They were brought up under godly priests or godly mothers. I think that this shows one's childhood life is important part of forming one's character. I don't think that priests or mothers are the most influential characters in one's childhood. I think the point here is that persons with whom one spends most of the time during childhood will have great influence on him.

Another important factor to consider is what happens to a person who finally grabs the power. According to the books mentioned above, many people changed in their character dramatically after they got the power. Once they get the power, they exibit totally different personality. They become corrupt and abusive. Maybe that is the nature of power. It corrupts a man. Even King David became corrupt when he had power. I guess that when one has the power to do anything, he seems to exercise the power to satisfy his personal desire. He is also ready to do anything to preserve his power. He literally becomes a slave to his power. Power can corrupt anyone. It is well recorded in the books I mentioned.

Those kings who became corrupt after they seized power also had bad people around them. A good king becomes corrupt after he visits an ungodly king or after he employed bad advisors. I think that we are constantly influenced by those people whom we associate with. So when one has the power and bad people around him, he is bound to become corrupt and abusive.

So I guess that the people who are around us and the poeple whom we associate with from our childhood until our adulthood have the most impact on the formation of our personality. And power can corrupt. Anyone in power is bound to become corrupt. When there is an establishment of one absolute power, there must be another power in place to counter the other. Without it, the absolute power corrupts absolutely. It is in the Bible and it is a proven fact in human history. It is highly unlikely that Samuel Lee was an exception. The division of UBF was not an accident. It was the result of this proven formula. Consider Yonggi Cho and his church. Anyone who has been in power too long is bound to become corrupt. But no one who is in power wants to give up his power. He will do anything even fosaking God to maintain his power. That is what I see personally in those books.
4th-Mar-2006 09:23 am (UTC)
There is the famous saying "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." You're right, this explains a lot of the behavior of the UBF leaders and people with absolute political power.

However, I'm not quite satisfied with it. I think there is something in the character of this leaders already *before* they entered into a position of power. Why did they get into that position in the first place? Because they were already eager for power in the beginning. The ordinary UBF member has no ambition for power, he wants to submit, he wants somebody to tell him what to do. But people like Samuel Lee were different - from the beginning. They didn't care what others told them. As soon as somebody is above them, they try to get rid of that "yoke" or try to reverse the situation. Remember how Samuel Lee separated from the Presbyterian Church, and even more, how he made Sarah Barry submit under him, even though in the beginning she was his "boss". In only ten years he reverted that relationship. And that happend *before* he had power.

Here is a literal quote from Samuel Lee in the 1991 UBF newsletter: When I heard she said this, I said to myself, “In 10 years I am going to make you my personal secretary.” By God’s grace, it had been done exactly in 10 years. I was the leader. She was my associate. Samuel Lee even bragged about this openly, because he was so proud having achieved this. He must have worked very hard for it.

The character of ordinary UBF members is totally different, however. They are trained to "obey", "sumbit", swallow everything, never criticize, follow directions of others instead of having own directions.

So I see two different personality types in UBF. The majority is of the obedient type. But there are some who want to rule. As soon as possible, they try to "pioneer" their own chapter, even if a chapter already exists in that town. These are the UBF leaders. I believe you are right that the UBF environment fosters and increases these character extremes. But I think there must be already a strong disposition in the beginning. Why have people such different disposition? Why do certain people strive for power, selling their own grandmothers for that purpose, with skins like elephants, and other people are so thin-skinned? Unfortunately, in politics and in authoritarian Christian organizations (TACOs), such conscienceless power-mongers are those who hold sway. Once they have gained enough power, they can even buy people and write their own history to appear as if they have been selfless, benevolent heros.
4th-Mar-2006 09:13 pm (UTC)
When I heard she said this, I said to myself, “In 10 years I am going to make you my personal secretary.” By God’s grace, it had been done exactly in 10 years. I was the leader. She was my associate.

This sounds more like a desparate outcry of a person suffering from psychological insecurity or inferiority complex because I don't think any ordinary man would make such a decision to invest 10 years of his life to prove that what one woman said about him was wrong. Samuel Lee must have been a very sensitive person who could be hurt easily especially by a woman and hold the hurt and anger inside guietly for a long time. This might have worked as a driving force for him to work hard to prove that eveyone except him was wrong. He says, "By God’s grace, it had been done exactly in 10 years. I was the leader. She was my associate." Since he knows that it happened exactly in 10 years, he must have remembered the day and time when he heard what she said, never forgeting it for 10 long years! Amazing! How can anyone remember what another person said for 10 years! The driving force behind Samuel Lee was not lofty and graceful one but quiet anger against a woman's remark. What a petty driving force!

In the movie Alexander, the director Oliver Stone seems to depict that the driving force behind Alexander's conquest might have been his sexuality. Of course it is just a movie based on hypothetical assumption that one's sexuality could be behind such a great conquest. Any way my point is that a driving force behind many seemingly impressive achievements could be very petty one.
5th-Mar-2006 09:02 am (UTC)
Yes, this may be an explanation. These leaders didn't experience real love in their childhood. Maybe they were beaten instead, or experienced rejection e.g. for being too small. So they developed a Napoleon complex. This seems to apply to Samuel Lee. He had no mother or only a stepmother. He never really wrote about this which is already suspicious. Everybody in UBF writes life testimonies including childhood, except Mr. Lee and Ms. Barry. We know nothing about their earlier life.

By the way, concerning the "exactly 10 years", it may very well be that he had this hidden anger for 10 years. Another explanation is that he simply made the story "nicer" and fit his agenda, as was his habit. In Samuel Lee's stories, everything fits exactly and it's always a black-and-white all-or-nothing principle. He wrote his stories for an effect. He didn't care whether what he wrote was true or was exactly like reported. What was important for him was to achieve an effect. With other words, he didn't care about reality. Instead, his aim was to alter or "create" reality in the minds of his listeners.
6th-Mar-2006 06:31 pm (UTC) - Lee as Cinderella
"He had no mother or only a stepmother. He never really wrote about this which is already suspicious. ... In Samuel Lee's stories, everything fits exactly and it's always a black-and-white all-or-nothing principle. He wrote his stories for an effect."

Sam Lee actually did write about his stepmother in his "messages" and talked about her more frequently in his rambling meeting announcements. So it was pretty well "known" that he'd had an abusive step-mother, at least, according to him. In his messages, he always talked about "one young man" who was mistreated by his step-mother; this was a frequent habit of his, writing about himself in the third person. I count 10 separate instances of his mentioning his step-mother in his manuscripts. In a couple of instances, he claims that she was later converted. But most of the time, the story goes something like this:

One young man had an abusive step-mother. He was sorrowful and
fatalistic. But he overcame his fatalism through one word of God. He
became a great servant of God and a "mother-like shepherd for young
people in Korea, America, Germany, Russia and the whole world" (actual

Yes, at the end of this Cinderella story, this serial abuser called himself a "mother-like shepherd," and his devotees continue this claim about him today.

Sam Lee may have told something closer to the real story of his youth in one particular mention of his step-mother. Here's an old forum post about it:

Date Posted: 18:48:50 05/23/03 Fri
Author: Joe
Subject: Re: Psychopaths through traumatic experiences?
In reply to: Nick T. 's message, "Re: Psychopaths through traumatic experiences?" on 12:44:48 05/23/03 Fri

>I suspect there is much that he has to hide. I
>heard from a former ubfAmerican that EE was a petty
>criminal and gang member in his youth. This could
>make sense as EE said he did not go to high school or

Lee was obviously referring to himself when he wrote the following in a Mark 9 message:

There was a grade school boy who lived under his stepmother and had
no time to do homework. So he did not catch up in school studies and
was 71st out of 72. But he was very happy that there was one boy who
was inferior to him. However, he learned how to strike with a bicycle
chain, and he became "king of the alley" among the students in his
school. He was very proud of himself that he was the "king of the
alley," including the sixth graders, when he was in the fourth grade.

He also told this same story during some meeting announcements. The thing is that he didn't sound sorry for being a gang member (or gang leader). Instead, he sounded proud of himself, especially that he was able to intimidate older and bigger boys! He never repented of or grew out of his gang leader mentality and qualities. It's no wonder that beatings and torture became as commonplace as they did wherever he was.
6th-Mar-2006 07:19 pm (UTC) - Re: Lee as Cinderella
That's interesting. Seems he was describing himself, though "king of the alley" was probably an exaggeration again. He was probably just an evil boy who tried to impress others, to some avail. Again a good example how the stories are "beautified" and exaggerated to make a point. So much exaggerated that he could claim that he was an unbelieving evil gang leader and at the same time a nice Christian boy suffering under his step-mother. He could tweak reality as he liked.

I would also like to point out that even though he may have made these innuendos in Chicago, he never wrote an "official" life testimony or official background story of his childhood and time before UBF. He always left it open to resort to - if somebody should ask about the details (but nobody dared anyway) - claim it was only an "example" or a "story" and it was not him. That's one of the reasons why UBF leaders like these "one young man" stories - though everybody knows who is meant, they do not qualify as lies since no name is mentioned and they are "fictitious." It's a great way for them to praise themselves or put blame on others.
4th-Mar-2006 04:43 pm (UTC) - ubf is mostly psychology
I think that ubf leaders are driven by their inner psychological urges and by outer psycological manipulation, not by any desire for God or humanity. One thing that opened my eyes is the rickross.com website. He has lots of info on all types of cults, (pseudo-Christian, new religions like , Scientology, Eastern cults, politcal and marketing groups, etc) and the leaders of the cults all seem to be cut from the same cloth. They all use the same tactics, and it becomes apparent that all their ultimate goals are the same too.

It doesn't matter how nice or spiritual the ubf leaders try to look on the outside, to me it became apparent that none of it was genuine. I think of all the leaders who were so proud of the way they served God, but they shamelessly stood up for EE Chang Woo and all the evil he had done. To me, they allowed themselves to be exposed as counterfeits, because they failed to follow the Bible when they were forced to make real decisions. They were driven by their desire to maintain their position, which is really their pride.

I remember when the reform group wanted EE to repent to bring healing. EE would rather lose half of the ubf, his cherished business empire, but he would rather lose half of it than to curb his pride. I remember how so many who appeared to be following God just followed the proud person EE Chang Woo, willing to sacrifice their own conscience to keep their position at ubf.

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